Stars: Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Rena Owen, Julie Engelbrecht, Michael Caine, Joseph Gilgun, Isaach De Bankolé, Michael Halsey, Sloane Coombs | Written by Cory Goodman, Matt Sazama | Directed by Breck Eisner
It would seem, given the critical reaction to this film, that the general consensus is that outside the Fast & Furious franchise Vin Diesel can’t headline a movie. Critical reaction is wrong. The Last Witch Hunter is a fantastic example of Vin Diesel’s pre-Fast franchise career – making interesting choices in characters and story. Personally I’ve waited a long time for a Vin Diesel movie as enjoyable as this, which is easily up there with Diesel’s sci-fi horror Pitch Black (I dare say its actually better than that films immediate follow-up too).
The Last Witch Hunter tells the story of the mighty warrior Kaulder (Diesel) who, hundreds of years ago, vanquished the all-powerful Witch Queen – thus defeating the witches who had wreaked bloodshed on the world for centuries once and for all. But in moments before her death the Witch Queen cursed Kaulder with immortality, forever separating him from his beloved family. Today, Kaulder is the titular last witch hunter, the only one of his kind remaining and the only thing standing between humanity and the witches that secretly still live in our midst. When the Witch Queen is resurrected, Kaulder is drawn into an epic battle that will determine the survival of the human race.
Action, fantasy, horror, comedy and suspense, this film has it all – it’s a real mish-mash of genres that all work together seemlessly to create a fantastic fantasy flick. For those who have seen the under-rated Nicolas Cage film The Sorceror’s Apprentice, The Last Witch Hunter is thematically very similar to that film – the same mix of old meets new, with an ancient hero thrust into action in the modern day, blending everyday places and items with the otherworldly and fantastical. Both are the kind of fantasy-film that was very much prevelant in the 80s and, in recent years, has been resigned more to direct to market releases than theatrical releases. And like Cage’s film, The Last Witch Hunter makes great use of the advance in technology to bring some of the wonderful, and sometimes, scary creatures of Kaulder’s world to life thorugh some stunning CGI.
Thankfully it seems that The Last Witch Hunter is not going to be the last we see of VIn Diesel’s supernatural-fighting hero Kaulder, or his sidekick Chloe as a sequel has been greenlit already – and I for one can’t wait!
The Last Witch Hunter is out on Digital Download on the 29th February, courtesy of Entertainment One